Results tagged ‘ Iowa Cubs ’

Expressions of Grief, Longing, and Expectation

Thumbnail image for mbpelicans.jpgA lot of great Valentine’s Day promotions have been coming down the pike as of late, and I am tempted to put together a post on the subject.

But then I remind myself that it is not yet February, and that Valentine’s Day can wait. But what cannot wait are the following objects of interest, all of which must be dealt with in an expedient manner.

So let the ruthless efficiency begin.

The Minor League Baseball world was rocked (or at least gently nudged) by last week’s news that Myrtle Beach Pelicans GM North Johnson had been hired by the Gwinnett Braves. The Pelicans will not let North go gently into that good night, however, as evidenced by the farewell video that they put together in his honor. This is some serious staff loyalty: 

My favorite part of the video occurs at 2:03, as that has to be the least convincing pantomimed phone conversation that I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot.

Following North’s lead, let us now move in a southwesterly direction. Our destination is Tulsa, where the Drillers continue to woo Conan O’Brien. Yesterday, hard-hat wearing team president Chuck Lamson got in on the act. Check it out HERE.

I made reference to Conan’s farewell speech at the end of yesterday’s post, namely the following line: Please do not be cynical…Nobody in life gets exactly what they
thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re
kind, amazing things will happen. 

This attitude is personified by Julio Osegueda, the young Floridian who attained celebrity as ajuliogame.jpg result of his enthusiastic questioning of President Obama at a town hall meeting last February. This led the Fort Myers Miracle to offer him a broadcasting gig, a development I covered HERE and HERE. I spoke with Julio before I wrote both articles, and was struck by his positivity and earnestness. That’s why I was glad to see THIS, in which Julio reflects on Obama’s first year in office as well as the changes in his own life.

One thing that Julio and his fellow Fort Myersinians don’t need to worry about is wintry weather, which the Iowa Cubs have experienced in abundance this month. You may recall last week’s pictures of Principal Park covered in ice. Well, now the club has made a commercial that juxtaposes winter woes with springtime bliss:

In conclusion, let me point out that the Richmond Flying Squirrels released their 2010 giveaway schedule today. It is highlighted by a Flying Squirrel Cape, so that you too may look like this.

Thumbnail image for Richmond -- Parny Unitard beleaguered.JPG

I'm Right Here Waiting For You

tulsa_drillers.pngI am writing this on Friday evening, well aware that most of you won’t be reading it until Monday morning.

So, how was your weekend? Those football games were awesome, weren’t they? A Saints-Jets Colts Super Bowl is really something to look forward to! And how about Conan’s last show? I thought the funniest best part was when Neil Young did a song parody called “The Network and the Damage Done” his farewell speech.

And speaking of Conan, in yesterday’s (I mean, Thursday’s) post I gave credit to the Round Rock Express for being the first Minor League team to offer Conan a job. Well, the Tulsa Drillers made an offer of their own:

“[The Drillers] will make Conan O’Brien our official MC for every
Drillers game for as long as
labamba.jpg he and you all live. The Tonight Show
Band? They can play every game — even LaBamba. Andy Richter, Pierre
Bernard, Preparation H Raymond, The [self-pleasuring] Bear, and PimpBot 5000
can all join our full-time staff. Bring them all.

We are fully prepared to offer you all your very own suite at ONEOK
Field to enjoy each Drillers game. Come on, guys, “The CoCo Cabana”.
Seriously. we can make it happen.”

The full letter can be read HERE, in all its resplendent red-haired glory.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for profriverdogs.jpgSpeaking of resplendent glory, the city of Charleston, SC is positively aglow with the news that a male Statue of Liberty may be erected in the city. Of course, the RiverDogs can not let news of such magnitude go by unnoticed. Behold, the “Be Your Own Statue” contest:

As part of their new Be Your Own Fan
marketing initiative, the RiverDogs are asking all fans to help determine the
face, shape and size of the new statue. The Be Your Own Statue promotion
invites fans to submit a drawing, photograph or video letting the club know who
should be the face of this new national monument.

The winner will be revealed as part of the All
Things Male promotional night, set for Saturday, July 17, when
Charleston hosts the Augusta GreenJackets for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.

“All Things Male” promotional night? I hope that’s better than last year’s “All Things Mail” Night, which didn’t deliver despite my stamp of approval.

And speaking of approval, the Trenton Thunder get mine for a new Twitter contest (ortwitter2010.jpg “Twitest”) announced today: Project 2010 in 2010. Here’s the scoop:

The Thunder’s goal is to have 2,010
Twitter followers by Opening Night (April 8, 2010). When we reach that
number, the Thunder will conduct a random drawing among their Twitter
followers, and give away a Grand Prize to one lucky fan. All of our
followers will also be winners because we’ll release an exclusive
ticket special just for them.

Grand prize is a jersey signed by
the 2010 team.

And speaking of 2010, that’s what year it is. But right now it’s winter, and therefore cold, and therefore our nation’s baseball stadiums are not exactly in optimal condition. Check out these pictures of Principal Park I received today from the Iowa Cubs, who stole the joke I would inevitably have made by writing “Ice Cubs” in the subject line:

ice cubs.jpg 




But if thoughts of Spring are more your thing, then take solace in this: The Reading Phillies announced today that their first “Gluttony Night” of the season will be held on April 9. They also announced that the evening will double as “Crazy About Reading Night” and I was like “Duh guys, every team is crazy about themselves.”

Finally, has a brand-new message board feature. If someone could take it upon his or herself to start a thread on how Benjamin Hill is the greatest and most overlooked writer in the entire world I’d really appreciate it. I’m too modest to do it myself, you see.

Resolved: To Stop Blogging Until 2010

Inside the Announcer’s Booth With Randy Wehofer

randy.JPGIf you’re not familiar with the name “Randy Wehofer”, then you will be soon. The aspiring thespian plays baseball announcer Jack Jeffries in the upcoming movie “Sugar”, and gives a startlingly realistic performance (for much more on “Sugar”, including a movie trailer, see today’s article in

Wehofer’s dedication to his role was so extreme that he spent the last decade preparing for it. He logged nine seasons as the broadcaster for the Midwest League’s Burlington Bees before moving on to the Iowa Cubs prior to the 2008 campaign. In perhaps the greatest coup in Ben’s Biz Blog history, I was able to land an exclusive interview with Wehofer.

So, without further ado, a glimpse into the mind of one of Iowa’s most buzzed-about actors:

Ben’s Biz: You bring a method actor’s intensity to your role as play-by-play announcer Jack Jeffries. Did this make you difficult to deal with on the set? Any Christian Bale-style freakouts?

Randy Wehofer: Working in minor league baseball for 10 years, I’ve grown very accustomed to a specialized and pampered lifestyle and while on set, I demanded that things worked exactly like a real game. I was especially pleased when the guy who played the visiting manager changed his lineup five minutes before shooting the scene and didn’t tell anyone so we could scramble in the press box to figure out who was coming to the plate. When we shot the road scenes, they were sure to bring me a cold hot dog in the fourth inning when I couldn’t possibly have time to eat it or enjoy it. I really appreciated the way the crew went out of its way to keep me in my comfort zone.

BB: The pressures of fame and fortune can be hard to deal with. Now that you are a celebrity, what steps are you taking to insure that you keep a level head?

RW: I don’t want to make other people jealous, but since word has spread about the movie, I’ve noticed that my wife Joanie and I get better tables at restaurants and the other day I even got a card that says my 14th haircut is going to be FREE. I try to take all of this in stride, though, and remember how hard it must be for all of those guys that work in the big leagues, but haven’t been in a movie.

BB: Do you think players will be jealous of you this season, because fans will be asking you for autographs instead of them?

RW: I’m actually hoping that one of the veteran players might take me under his wing and teach me the ropes when it comes to signing autographs. I’ll need to know what kind of pens to use for glossy photos as opposed to baseballs and how to avoid cramping up on hot days. If all goes well, I’m hoping this experience could put me in the running for a future spot as a roving autograph instructor for a Major League organization.

BB: What will be the next step for you as an actor? Will you be accepting additional roles as a baseball broadcaster, or are you looking to go against type?

RW: In the future, I do want to show my range as an actor so I’m actively seeking roles as a public address announcer, the guy who takes your order in a drive thru, or do a guest spot in a kids show as the guy who reads the morning announcements in a school.  I don’t know if I’m ready for it yet, but someday I’d really love to play a baseball broadcaster in an animated feature. I think it would be awesome to be a cartoon.

BB: You are listed in the movie’s credits as “Randolph Wehofer”, as opposed to “Randy”. Is this a bid to be taken more seriously, comparable to when Mark Wahlberg stopped using the name “Marky Mark”?

RW: It was really a ploy to try to have my name take up as much room on the screen as possible during the credits.  When I was filling out the form to be in the movie, I actually listed my middle name and a phonetic pronunciation guide for my name as what I wanted included, but they edited it down to just my full first and last name.


BB: Early buzz is that you are a front-runner for a “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar in 2010. Have you started working on your acceptance speech?

RW: I hate to correct you on your own blog, Ben, but I’ve actually been told that my performance is so noteworthy that they’ve created a new category for “Best Athletic Supporting Actor” – and I’ve been told that I will be the only one nominated in that category, so I like my chances. I’d like to thank all the people that made this possible and hope everyone really likes “Sugar.”

(See Randy Wehofer in “Sugar”! The film opens in NYC and Los Angeles this Friday, and nationwide on April 24)


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